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Book details
  • SubGenre:Psychotherapy / Counseling
  • Language:English
  • Pages:197
  • eBook ISBN:9780929150802

Through the Gateway of the Heart, Second Edition

Accounts and Experiences with MDMA and other Empathogenic Substances

by Sophia Adamson

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MDMA, or as it is commonly known, “ecstasy,” has a pardoxical double role in contemporary society. As the party-drug ecstasy, it is consumed by tens (perhaps hundreds) of thousands of people at “rave” dance parties in the United States, Europe, and the Far East. In its other role as a promising adjunct to psychotherapy, MDMA is currently being researched as a treatment for many conditions, including PTSD, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and interpersonal anxiety. This book, originally published in 1985 before MDMA became illegal, is a compilation of experiences conducted in supportive and/or therapeutic settings. The vignettes are not part of a formal research study, and there is no control group. These accounts illustrate the value and potential of MDMA for generating insight, facilitating empathic communication, and supporting spiritual practice. Although the use of MDMA remains illegal (except in the limited context of research), the editors of this book, like many professionals in the field of psychotherapy, believe that a fresh look at this very promising substance is warranted. Ralph Metzner, PhD & Padma Catell, PhD
Ecstasy… empathy…openness…compassion…peace…acceptance… being…forgiveness…healing…re-birth…unity…emotional bonding… caring…celebration…these are some of the terms people use to describe their experiences with a class of substances, of which MDMA 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (also known as Adam, ecstasy, Molly, or XTC) has become the best known. Although related in a general way to the psychedelic (“mind-manifesting”) substances such as LSD, psilocybin and mescaline, these substances are different in that they do not usually produce visions, hallucinations, or altered perceptions of reality. Even more importantly, these substances seem to consistently induce positive affect and reduce or attenuate anxiety in significant contrast to the classical psychedelics which can amplify and elaborate both positive and negative affects. Because of the high percentage of major positive insight experiences reported with these substances, and the relatively low incidence of undesirable side-effects, these drugs have attracted favorable attention from a number of psychotherapists who regard them as facilitators of therapeutic insight and change. They have also been used by some teachers and practitioners of meditation who see them as important amplifiers of emotional and sensory awareness and as aids to spiritual practice. The present book is a collection of personal accounts of these kinds of states of heightened awareness, particularly awareness of one’s own emotions. They are remarkable both for the uniformity with which people affirm their positive value, and for the diversity and range of individual differences. The experiences reported here all occurred within a context of either psychotherapy, serious self-exploration, relationship communication, or spiritual practice. Some are accounts of individuals with psychological disturbances, including two rape victims who took the substance as part of their psychotherapy. Most of the individuals whose experiences are related here took the substances with guidance from someone experienced in their use in order to further their personal and spiritual growth. Ralph Metzner, PhD
About the author
Sophia Adamson is the pen name of Ralph Metzner, Ph.D., and Padma Catell, Ph.D. Both are psychologists who have extensive career experience in the field of psychopharmacology. Dr. Metzner gained fame in the 1960s for his work at Harvard with Timothy Leary and has spent a lifetime researching and teaching in the field. The author of many books (see www.greenearthfound.org), most recently "Birth of a Psychedelic Culture," Dr. Metzner teaches seminars in psychopharmacology and spirituality all over the world. Dr. Catell, who in addition to her Ph.D. in Psychology, has an MA in Biology with a specialization is Psychopharmacolgy, is professor emerita at the California Institute of Integral Studies, and the author of "Drugs and Clients, What Every Psychotherapist Needs to Know." She has been teaching psycholpharmacology to graduate students at CIIS, Dominican University, and other graduate schools in the San Francisco Bay area since 1984.